The Department of Education isn’t tracking how many remote learners are living out of town — and one city official wants answers.
Arguing that they shouldn’t occupy spots in DOE schools, Queens City Councilman Robert Holden asked City Hall for an accounting of the issue this week.
Holden said the practice is “more prevalent” than is generally acknowledged in a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio this week.
“Please inform the public about the mechanisms in place to confirm that students who opted for remote learning are still residents of New York City and the school district they are claiming,” Holden wrote.
A spokesman for Holden said that coveted seats in his district – including Gifted & Talented programs — should go to those who have remained in the boroughs.
“That’s not fair to students or their parents who live in New York City,” said Kevin Ryan. “They’re taking up spots that are needed by other students.”
Teachers across the city said that many kids who log into their remote classes each day are often nowhere near New York City.
But with some remote learning options likely to continue next year, Ryan said the DOE should get a better handle on the issue.
“Our position is that this needs to be looked at and enforced by the start of next school year,” he asserted.
A DOE spokesperson said the agency is being flexible with families given the difficulties posed by the coronavirus
“We recognize that the challenges of the pandemic may have temporarily changed circumstances for our families, and enrollment is based on a family’s permanent residence,” she said. “We are delivering strong virtual instruction to those who have chosen to learn remotely this school year and will continue to update school registers as necessary.”